André Ruschkowski

Program notes

Composers Edition Vol. III



In blauem Kristall
for Flute, Clarinet,
Violin, Cello and Piano

Weißer Schlaf
for Soprano and Tape
- dedicated to Sigune von Osten -

Dunkle Stunde
for Flute, Clarinet,
Violin, Cello, Piano and Tape

Unter steinernen Bogen
for Soprano,
Flute, Clarinet,
Violin, Cello, Piano
and Tape

Recording of the first performance on the 29th May 1997 in the Großes Studio of the Music Academy „Mozarteum“ (International Festival for Contemporary Music ASPEKTE Salzburg)

Soprano: Sigune von Osten
Flute: Irmgard Daxner
Clarinet: Fritz Kronthaler
Violin: Keunah Park
Cello: Peter Sigl
Piano: Daniel Linton-France
Conductor: Oswald Sallaberger
Sound projection: André Ruschkowski

The Trakl-Zyklus consists of four compositions, each having a poetical text by Georg Trakl as the basis for musical development („Ruh und Schweigen“ for „In blauem Kristall“, „Der Schlaf“ for „Weißer Schlaf“, „Hohenburg“ for „Dunkle Stunde“, „Nachtseele“ for „Unter steinernem Bogen“). The texts by Georg Trakl directly determine the structure as well as the sound of each piece.
The texts were recited by the soprano Sigune von Osten and/or by the composer himself, and the results recorded on tape. The sounds of these recordings were analysed in different ways with the help of a computer. The analysis results include parameters about the time- and frequency structure of ground tones and overtones of the speech voice. These parameters were the starting point for the elaboration of the soprano voice and the tape.
The structure of the musical composition is directly related to the recordings with the recited Trakl-texts. For this purpose the time axis of the original recordings was extended (about 8 to 12 times) linearly to keep the original text proportions.
The frequency spectra of the stretched text recordings were divided into four octave bands. This was necessary for the separation of the rising and decreasing ground- and overtones of the speech voice in these different frequency areas. The sound material of these octave bands was then analysed by the means of Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT) to find out the dominating frequencies in these areas and their changes in time. In the following step these frequencies were transformed into musical pitches, which finally became the starting point for the composition of the soprano part.
The tape includes exclusive sound material derived from the Trakl texts recited by Sigune von Osten. The original tape has 4 tracks and includes sound material from 15 audio tracks used during the composition process on a harddisk recording system (ProTools). For the splicing and movements of sound this material was projected in a virtual performance space around the audience. The 2-channel tape transforms the original room movements - as far as possible- at a position in the back room (depth) of a front stereo panorama.
The Tape Version is not entirely identical with the Concert Version for soprano and tape. The Tape Version includes the same tape part but a different „electronic soprano voice“. That means there is a solo voice on the tape which is oriented at the live soprano part of the Concert Version but with further going possibilities of sound variation and timbre modification by electronic means.
The final form of the piece and the different timbre characteristics are mostly a result of a simultaneous overlapping of the two texts by Georg Trakl recited in differing ways with their specific electronic transformations.


Arara & Araku

Percussion: Arabella Lorenz
Sound projection: André Ruschkowski

Recording of the first performance on the 28th May 1997 in the Großes Studio of the Music Academy „Mozarteum“ (International Festival for Contemporary Music ASPEKTE Salzburg)

Both compositions ARARA and ARAKU originated in 1997 through the cooperation of André Ruschkowski with the percussionist Arabella Lorenz.
The sound material of ARARA is based on some short (lasting 2 to 5 seconds) sections of an improvisation with analog synthesizers. These sections were then subjected to various electronic modifications. Firstly, their structure was analysed, that is divided into sine-tone components (with the programm Lemur, developed by the CERL Sound Group at the University of Illinois), and subsequently these sine-tones were again synthesized with different parameters. The alteration of the parameters especially concerns the extension of the time structure: the original sections were extended to up to forty times their initial length. But also the frequencies of the overtones originally present in the sections underwent a gradual modification. Transposition, also expansion and compression of the overtone structure dominate.
The structure development of ARARA commences with a process of complex events, the original sound sections, which become simpler towards the middle of the piece. This indicates the continuous „diving into“ the innermost of the original sound material. Only towards the last quarter of the piece does this tendency once again change, finally finding the way to more complex sound structures, with which the piece ends. The percussion part represents a further transformation of the original sounds, in that it develops the electronic material of the tape through extension and contrast.
The electronically transformed sound material in ARAKU was derived solely from speech. Modification techniques similar to those used in ARARA predominate in this piece: spectral analysis of the sounds and resynthesis with altered parameter configurations, as well as multiple modulations of the isolated spectral components of the original spoken sounds.
The live part for the performance of ARAKU is determined by many differing transitions between the tape and the action of the percussionist. These combinations extend from delicate sound layers to drastic contasts in timbre and dynamics.



Piano: Daniel Linton-France

Recording on the 14th August 1996 in the „Studio für elektronische Musik“ of the Music Academy „Mozarteum“ in Salzburg.

KARABONTARA (1996) for Piano and Tape consists of three Parts. Each part deals with specific combinations of elements for musical variation (pitch, duration) and timbre modification of the basic musical motive, presented in the beginning of the piece. There is a continuos process of variation of that motive, to enable the listener to directly follow every phase of variation. The variation character is dominated by the used technique and includes modifications of the piano sound (time + frequency) but also traditional musical techniques for motive elaboration. The 4-track-tape includes the sound material of 10 audio tracks with processed piano sounds. For splicing and movements of sounds, this material was projected in a virtual performance space around the audience.
(A detailed analysis of „Karabontara“ by Joachim Brügge was published (in German) in „Neues Musikwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch“, Vol. 7, 1998.)



Violin: Frank Stadler
Flute: Vera Klug
Percussion: Henning Kirsch

Recording of the first performance on 11th May 1996 at the Großes Studio of the Music Academy „Mozarteum“ („Long night of composers“ , organised by the Austrian Ensemble for New Music)

The instrumental composition SONAMA forms part of the 60-minute medial composition „Salzburgtrum“ which was first performed in Salzburg in 1995. The latter consists of twelve parts, each defined by specific combinations of live recordings made in Salzburg, contrasting electronic modifications, as well as instrumental sounds.
These sections of „Salzburgtrum“ form the basis of SONAMA. Electronic reduction of the time scale leads to the creation of condenses variants of the original sections of „Salzburgtrum“. The order of these variants deviates from the original, as they in turn are simultaneously and successively combined with each other.
The thus obtained new sound structures were examined by analytical computer programmes to determine their dominating musical charateristics. These characteristics of the sounds in each section of SONAMA were then transcribed (that is, made playable) for violin, flute and percussion (big drum and „Rainmaker“).
Whereas electronic sounds are usually regarded as an extension of instrumental techniques, the opposite is the case in SONAMA. The instruments do not merely produce tones resembling electronic sounds, but furthermore expand these. This is achieved by the connection of the tonal parameters found in the playing technique of the instruments. These parameters, like the envelope of single overtones, for example, can be modelled separately by electronic means, mechanical instruments however can only be modelled in their mutual dependancies. This connection leads to a new dimension in SONAMA, which in turn enriches the compromised parts from „Salzburgtrum“.
The first performance of SONAMA took place on the 11th May 1996 in the Großes Studio at the Academy of Music „Mozarteum“ in Salzburg by soloists from the Austrian Ensemble for New Music.



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